Why did the ANC not condemn the deliberate slaughter of 300,000 black African men, women and children in the Sudan but goes out of its way to condemn a far lesser crime by Israel in Gaza? Why does it care so much about the fate of Palestinians in Gaza but cares nothing about the persecution of Palestinians in Syria, Jordan, and elsewhere in the Arab world? Why did it applaud and support Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa, two blood-soaked, racist mass murderers, who deliberately killed tens of thousands of black African men, women and children in Zimbabwe? Does the ANC care absolutely nothing about the suffering of ordinary black Africans but adores the black leaders who persecute them?  Why did it back Vladimir Putin when he invaded the Ukraine? Why are there continual demonstrations in South Africa about the plight of Muslims in Palestine but none about the brutal oppression of Uyghur Muslims in China? Is there some common thread in all these contradictions and hypocrisy? I believe there is, but first let me deal with a financial explanation for South Africa’s very expensive court case against Israel in the Hague.

Its best articulation comes from Frans Cronje, former CEO of the IRR. The essential background is the Abraham Accords, a set of agreements among parties in the Middle East, initiated by, of all people, President Donald Trump, in 2020. The name “Abraham” was chosen to show unity between the three religions of the Book, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, since they all recognise him as their founding patriarch. These peace accords were initially signed by the USA, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, but other Arab countries, including possibly Saudi Arabia, seemed poised to join. Iran was horrified, almost panic-stricken.

The real conflict in the Middle East is between Sunni, led by Saudi Arabia, and Shia, lead by Iran. Everything else, including hostility to Israel, is a side show. The Iranian government is in deep trouble. It is failing economically and its people are restless and resentful of the horrible, woman-hating rule of the mullahs. Recently an Iranian woman, Roya Heshmati, was sentenced to 74 strokes of the lash for not covering her face in public. I wonder what ANC feminists think of this. (Nothing I suppose; they would be too busy fretting about patriarchy in the Western world when male CEOs get paid more than female ones.)

 Iran obviously felt threatened by Middle Eastern countries ganging up against it, and knew it had to break up the Abraham accords. So it ordered its stooge, Hamas, to stage the atrocity against Israeli civilians on 7 October. It relied on the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to reply with stupid violence, which to their delight he did. These events stopped the progress of the Abraham Accords in their tracks, which was Iran’s aim. To add to international condemnation of Israel, and demoralise supporters of Israel worldwide, Iran then paid the ANC a lot of money to take court action for “genocide” against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This explains why the ANC, which was desperately short of money, suddenly had plenty of it for its 2024 election campaign.

Corrupt and immoral

I have no evidence that this is not true. The ANC is so corrupt and immoral it might well be. But I am always on guard for monetary explanations of conspiracy when ideology can suffice. The ANC’s ICJ case fits in perfectly with its ideology. As Cronje points out, it does not really matter what verdict the ICJ eventually delivers; its primary purpose, to vilify Israel and demoralise her supporters, has been achieved with total success. The ANC’s charge that Israel is guilty of genocide and deliberately sought out innocent women and children to kill is obvious nonsense.

Israel went out of her way to warn Palestinians to vacate areas where it would be fighting Hamas. Of course she knew Hamas would use women and children as human shields and that they would inevitably be killed in large numbers, which made her military actions reprehensible. Israeli military actions in Gaza have been stupid, reckless and cruel but they are not genocidal – unlike the actions of, say, Omar al-Bashir.

In 2015, Bashir, then-President of the Sudan, visited South Africa to attend a summit of the African Union (AU). He had been responsible for the murder of about 300 000 black Africans in the Darfur region of Sudan as part of a program of ethnic cleansing. (The exact figure is uncertain; it may have been more than this.) I notice that whenever Israel is discussed, hostile callers like to look at her history, going back to 1947 or so. The history of Arab persecution and enslavement of black Africans goes back further than 650 AD.

For centuries the Arabs looked upon the Africans as inferior beings, fit only to be slaves. Bashir was part of this long historical trend. The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Bashir for crimes against humanity and asked South Africa, a signatory to the ICC, to arrest him. The ANC government did not need to travel to the Hague, 10,000 km away; it did not need a very expensive team of lawyers; all it needed was a few policemen in the nearest police station to come round and arrest him. The ANC did not order his arrest. It let him leave the country peacefully.

Is this because the ANC hates ordinary Africa people and thought Bashir was right to murder them? No, I do not think so. I do not think it hates ordinary black people. It just regards them with contempt, or rather just disregards them. You can see this in South Africa, where it rules. In its 30 years of rule, the ANC has abused and betrayed the black working classes, but not out of malice, just out of contemptuous disregard. The ANC has ruined the education of poor black children while sending its own children to elitist private or semi-private schools. It has robbed black people of security, jobs, transport, water and sanitation while making the ANC elite extremely rich. It thinks ordinary black people are so stupid they will continue to vote for it no matter how shabbily it treats them. Most African leaders are the same.


The black government of our neighbour is far worse. It really does hate some of its black citizens, those belonging to the wrong ethnic group. In 1983, President Mugabe, aided by his security minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, ordered his soldiers to slaughter Ndebele men, women, and children in Matabeleland in Operation Gukurahundi. At least 20 000 innocent black people were murdered, probably twice that number. The ANC knew all about it but when it came to power in 1994, said nothing. This same ANC ordered a public holiday to commemorate the killing of 69 black people by panicking white policemen in Sharpeville in 1960 and condemns every crime of white colonialism in the past. In 2000, having lost a referendum and being in desperate financial trouble, Mugabe ordered the seizure of the private farms and threw 780 000 black workers and their families out of their jobs and homes and into destitution and sometimes starvation. The ANC clapped and cheered.

Mugabe always got a standing ovation from ANC audiences whenever he visited South Africa. Was this because the ANC hated black people in Zimbabwe and were pleased that Mugabe had killed tens of thousands of them and sent hundreds of thousands into penury? No, I do not think so. I think the reason the ANC loved Mugabe so much was because most of the private farms were owned by whites (they bought them under his government). He seized the farms from the whites and murdered just under 20 of them. This made him a big hero in the eyes of the ANC. Last year, Ramaphosa, almost alone among Africa leaders, rushed over to Zimbabwe to congratulate Mnangagwa on “winning” yet another crooked election. The ANC would like to do in South Africa what Mugabe did in Zimbabwe but has not quite steeled itself to do so, although it has passed a law allowing expropriation without compensation. The ANC cares nothing about black people but it is totally obsessed about white people, whom it hates and envies.

I must qualify this. The ANC only hates white people from the Western world, from the capitalist world. It likes white people from the communist, anti-Western world, such as Fidel Castro, who crushed the working classes of Cuba, ruined her economy, persecuted homosexuals, and sent hundreds of thousands of Cuban people fleeing to the USA. It likes Putin too, even though he has denounced communism; he still regards the West as the enemy and that is good enough for the ANC.

For the ANC, like so many activist movements in the USA and elsewhere, black lives don’t matter unless a white man from the West has caused their suffering. The slaughter, rape, and torture of black people in Africa means nothing to the ANC when no white men are involved. The ANC regards Israeli Jews as Western white men. That is why it attacks them for lesser crimes. The economic success of Israel, her sturdy democracy, which includes Palestinians as full citizens, her freedom, her tolerance of all sexual preferences – all of this drives the ANC mad. The ANC knows perfectly well that the only place on Earth where Palestinian people are treated well and Palestinian women have full rights is Israel, which makes its blood boil. (Most Arab countries hate the Palestinians and want nothing to do with them).

Complete guide

So here is the complete guide to the ANC’s international stance on human rights. It is driven by a deep hatred and envy of white people from the West, and leaps at every chance to blame them for something. It cares nothing for the terrible suffering of black people in Africa. It hates Israel because it is white and Western and successful. Many leaders in Africa and activists around the world agree with the ANC. The ANC’s ICJ action against Israel will raise its standing among them.

It has been suggested that the ANC’s very public condemnation of Israel, but not of other countries committing far worse crimes, will harm South Africa economically. Western countries might be less keen to invest in South Africa. Is the ANC willing to make economic sacrifices in order to uphold its appalling record on human rights? Will South Africa suffer economically because of the massive hypocrisy of the ANC? A key matter is the USA’s renewal of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), which gives South Africa preferential trade terms. Will the USA now decline to renew it? I do not think that likely. The ANC thinks the USA is so weak and feeble that it will continue to help South Africa no matter how loudly it condemns her in every international forum, no matter how much is mocks her and despises her, and no matter that it automatically supports any enemy of the USA.

I think the ANC is correct to think America so pathetic right now. Just look how the American Ambassador backed down after being humiliated by the ANC over the affair of the Lady R ship, which might or might not have been loaded with military equipment for Putin. Suppose the ANC now applauded the Houthi guerillas in the Yemen, in the pay of Iran, when they attack merchant shipping in the Red Sea. Would that weaken its relations with the USA? I cannot be sure but doubt it.

Curious moment

There was a curious moment in the ANC’s presentation to the ICJ. One of its lawyers was the Advocate Tembeka Nugcukaitobi. As evidence that Israel had been genocidal, he cited young Israeli soldiers singing a song about “the seed of Amalek”. The song is based on a command that Samuel gave to Saul about three thousand years ago, cited in 1 Samuel 15.3, to slaughter all the people of Amalek, including women and children. One can imagine Israeli youths, caught up in bloodshed, experiencing rage and sorrow over what Hamas has done to their brothers and sisters, singing any old battle song that came into their heads. Was this proof of genocidal intent by the Israeli government? Oh, come off it!

But it turns out that this same Advocate Nugcukaitobi was the lawyer representing Julius Malema after he had sung in public “Kill the Farmer! Kill the Boer!” This was not sung in the heat of the moment but in a carefully planned public performance. Nugcukaitobi said that it was a traditional song and not really an injunction to murder white Afrikaners, even though over a thousand white farmers and their wives and children have been murdered, often in a gruesome manner and sometimes in circumstances suggesting the murderers might have been influenced by the song.

On 26 September 2018, President Ramaphosa, who was in the USA, told Bloomberg, “And whoever gave him that information (about farm murders) was completely wrong. There are no killing of farmers or white farmers in South Africa.” By that time the South Africa Police had recorded over 1,700 farm murders.

This week I heard Ramaphosa say that he had never been prouder to be a South African than on the occasion of the ANC’s attack on Israel in the ICJ. I have never been more ashamed. And I think he is the most loathsome, dishonest, morally squalid leader the good people of South Africa have ever been cursed with. When you look at some of our awful past leaders, white and black, that is really saying something.

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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Andrew Kenny is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal.